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Authors: Leslie Dicken

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BOOK: The Price of Discovery
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Drakor was Erin's story, damn it. He would lead her to solve the mystery of John Doe. Hell, he might have a mystery of his own to share.

The tapping of heels clicked behind her.

“Don't think you've won the war,” Rita sneered, coming around to block Erin's progress. “There are many battles left to fight.”

Drakor was nowhere around and Erin didn't know what she was talking about.

“There's only room for one of us at that paper. It's going to take someone with ambition and guts. Do you have what it takes? Oh look, here comes your boy now. He's far beyond you, my dear. Don't think his intentions are sincere. He's using you for one thing or another.”

Drakor's easy, powerful stride brought him beside her. Rita waved good-bye. “Ta ta, you two. And, Erin, I saw your brother inside with some sleaze-bag. I've got my trained eye on him and it doesn't look good.”

Erin's jaw dropped. Why did Rita care about Greg and why didn't Drakor defend his sister? He said nothing…only watched Rita walk away.

“Why didn't you say something to her? She just insulted Ankra.”

“I believe that female is not your friend.”

“No, she isn't.”

He shrugged. “Then her opinion does not matter.”

Hell, he had a point there. “Let's go.” Erin climbed in the driver's seat.

They said nothing to each other on the way home. He pressed himself against the car door, his face shining and his cheeks flushed. Dare she ask him if it was lust that caused him to behave this way? She wasn't quite that bold.

When they pulled up to the house, Erin saw someone move away from an upper window.

“Who was that?”

He sighed. “My younger brother.”

“You have a brother, as well? Who else lives here?”

Drakor got out of the car. She watched his long, lean body take two of the porch steps at a time. He hung his head then leaned against the mauve-colored post. He stared out into the trees, where courting fireflies lit up the shadows.

“My entire family lives here,” he said at last. “My parents, Ankra, younger brother and sister.”

“Oh!” Certainly not what she expected. Some reporter she was. She had come to this house to investigate her John Doe and somehow the sight of Drakor made her forget everything she'd learned in Journalism 101. “How old are your younger siblings?”

“Brundor is…” he hesitated and then said, “seventeen sun-cycles. Sitora is five.”

“Sun-cycles?” He really was strange sometimes.

His dark eyes settled on her face. “Earth years.”

Erin snorted. “Oh, sure, that makes more sense.”

The way he talked, it seemed like he was from another planet. Crazy, of course.

And now her instincts told her nothing felt normal at this antique house in the middle of the woods. This man, with his gripping gaze and secretive nature, and his sister, with her voluptuous figure and naiveté, had to be something more than foreigners. She had to find out what. Could she use her feminine charms to get him to divulge his secrets?

Someone with ambition and guts, Rita had said. Erin once had them both in spades, but she didn't trust herself anymore. Ambition and guts had nearly ruined her, how could she know what was right anymore? Especially when thoughts of kissing this man kept her awake at night.

She noticed Drakor staring up at the half moon. “Kind of cool, huh?”

He turned those intense eyes on her. A tingle raced down her spine.

Erin cleared her throat, then started babbling. Anything to keep her focus. “I especially love it when it's full and hangs really low and huge. It's like you can reach right out and touch it. The craters are so clear I think it's just beyond the trees. If only I could climb to the top of one of them, I might actually be able to reach it.” She sighed. “How cool would that be to walk on it, to explore something other than this planet?”

Drakor started to say something but stopped. His muscles flexed as he dug his hands in his pockets. In the distance, crickets sang.

She stared at his profile, the dark shadows erasing all traces of details. She could only see the small ridge along his eyebrows, the strong jutting of his nose, and the rounding of his lips.

He was beautiful. Breathtakingly handsome. But who was he really? She felt compelled to find the truth.

“Drakor?”

He blinked once and then slowly turned to look at her. There was no mistaking the blistering need in his bottomless eyes. All rational thought fled as desire engulfed her, stripping away her self-control and leaving her desperate for his touch.

“This is a mistake.” Drakor had not meant to say it aloud. He could read her thoughts as if she'd whispered them against the curve of his ear. Erin wanted him to kiss her. Great Sun, he yearned to satisfy her request.

“Yes, it is,” she agreed.

He watched her lips move as she spoke, longing to consume every part of her. But it would mean giving in to the bizarre notion that Erin was his lifemate.

His pulse drummed in his ears. His breath caught with anticipation. His body trembled with restraint.

“Oh, God…I can't…we shouldn't…” She closed her eyes and swallowed. The sweet scent of a summer flower swirled in his nose with a heady rush.

His gaze traced a path down her supple lips to her smooth throat, gleaming beneath the moonlight. Her breasts rose and fell, nearly touching his chest, their nipples pert. The air hummed, sizzled.

Drakor brushed his thumb across her jaw, her smooth skin warming him like a thousand suns. A whimper chimed in her throat and she leaned toward him.

Blood roared through his veins. Desire erupted in a breathtaking explosion.

He could deny it no longer.

Drakor brushed his lips against hers, tasting her longing. Erin opened her mouth and he plunged forth, diving into unknown yet somehow familiar territory.

Her hands skimmed up his arms and rested upon his shoulders. Warm currents eddied under his skin. He was at once on fire and tranquil.

Drakor slid his palms down her back and cupped her bottom. She released a moan, buried her fingers into his hair, pressed her body against him.

His flesh throbbed, knees weakened. He wanted Erin more than anything he'd ever wanted in his life. Nothing could penetrate this haze of lust, this scalding desire pulsating deep within his bones.

Her tongue stroked his, suckled it, spiraling waves of pleasure down to his toes. His hands and feet went numb.

Drakor leaned a hand against the post, helpless. He had to put a stop to this now, or he may not be able to stop it at all.

Haltingly, he pulled away. Her glazed eyes blinked at him, the moon shining like a white spot in their center. Kiss-swollen lips grinned at him.

He cleared his throat. “This was a mistake.”

“But it felt right.”

Too right. That's what bothered him. “I should not have touched you.”

Erin shrugged a shoulder. “It was glorious. But you're right, it was a mistake.”

Then why did it feel so terrible when they parted? His body screamed for her. And it yet was more than raw passion. Her caress released a peaceful river in his veins. She both calmed and excited him, created and destroyed him. It was as if she were made just for him.

Great Sun, no!

Erin tapped his arm. Her breasts rose and fell in rhythm with his heart. She swallowed, smiled, then jogged down the steps. “I need to go back to get Greg and Ankra.”

Drakor nodded, unable to form words.

She waved out the window and turned the car around. He stood watching her until the vehicle's red lights blinked in the distance and then disappeared from view.

Drakor glanced up to the half moon, hanging just above the treetops. Erin had marveled at its beauty. She wished to touch it, to walk upon its surface. How little she and the other humans knew of rest of the universe. Why could they not believe that other life forms existed in the far off sky?

He swallowed, his throat tight and dry. The pain at his groin, in his heart, inside his skull had eased, but only slightly. He almost wished he had not kissed her, that he had not given in to his body's demands. But the brief moments of pleasure had been practically nothing compared to the contentment and peace he experienced. He would give nearly anything to have that feeling again.

Anything but believing his lifelong mate was a human.

 

 

Two headlights cut a swath of light along the dirt road as Erin drove Ankra back to her house. Or rather she took her to the Victorian for the girl to retrieve clothes. Supposedly Ankra believed Greg was her knight in shining armor. Proved how much this naïve girl knew.

The moon was higher and seemed much further away now. The house stood completely dark when they pulled in front of it.

Erin and Greg waited in the car while Ankra ran inside.

“I guess you like her,” Erin mumbled.

“She is something else,” he answered, sighing.

“Be nice to her. Promise me again.”

“Erin, what is the big deal here anyway? It's not like she's your best friend. You only met her a few days ago and you're snooping around their house for a story.”

Her throat tightened. Exactly why she shouldn't have kissed Drakor. But, damn, did it feel good.

“You won't tell her, will you? About me looking for a story.”

He leaned forward and rested his chin on the back of her seat. “Aw, come on, I'm not that much of a jerk. Though I hope you don't ever have me in the position to choose.”

Erin raised her eyebrows and turned to look at him. “Does that mean you might actually be with her longer than a week?”

Greg chuckled and winked. “We'll see how tonight goes…”

“Gregory Price!”

“I'm just kidding, Erin. You really need to get laid.”

She rolled her eyes. “Here we go again.”

“Look.” He pointed to one of the upper windows. A dull light glittered behind the curtains and a shadow moved in front of the window. “Could that be Drakor? Maybe he wants you to come inside.”

“Give me a break.” She squinted up at the figure. Was that him? Was he looking out to see if she had come back?

Didn't matter. That one kiss was an aberration, just to see if he'd allow it, if she could use her feminine wiles to get some information from him. But he'd pulled away.

The shadow moved from the window and the light dimmed to black. Whoever had been watching decided there was nothing worth seeing and went back to bed.

Erin closed her eyes, wishing the night was over and she was fast asleep in her bed. She heard Greg lean back and they waited for Ankra in silence.

She must have fallen asleep because the back door opening caused her to jump.

“I am sorry I took so long,” Ankra said. “There has been a problem in my house tonight.”

Erin turned to look back at her, but caught sight of Drakor walking toward the car, like a lion on the prowl. In spite of herself, Erin felt heat flood her belly, her heart quicken.

He tapped on the glass. She rolled down the window. “I need your aid.”

“What is it?”

He inhaled sharply. “My father and I had a disagreement and I find that I cannot stay in the house tonight.” His eyes flicked back to the rear seats. “I ask to stay at Greg's house tonight, if possible.”

“Huh?”

Erin looked back to see that Greg's face was buried in Ankra's neck and he wasn't even paying attention.

“He wants to know if he can stay at your house.”

Greg's eyes widened and his face paled. He obviously didn't like the request. No doubt he thought having Ankra's brother in the next room would interfere with his plans. He did have a point there. “Uh, Erin, can't he stay with you?”

Her mouth dried, anticipating being alone with Drakor. The things he could do with his tongue. And those hands…

It was a very bad idea.

“I have a one-bedroom apartment. Where would he sleep?”

“On the couch?” Drakor offered.

Even if he slept on the couch, her hormones would have her out there within minutes. The man was raw, wild. Hot.

“I-I don't know.”

Greg kicked the back of her seat. Selfish asshole. If he wanted Ankra alone that badly, he could do her a few favors in the process. “Can I talk to you a minute, Greg? Alone?”

He groaned but nodded. Ankra slipped back out of the car and Erin put the window up.

She turned to stare at him. “Now, you listen. Having this man sleep on my couch tonight is not the wisest thing in my opinion—”

“Aw, it could be good for you. As long as you don't pull something like you did with Evan.”

She clenched her jaw but let the comment pass. “I will do you this favor…if you promise to pass on any of Ankra's suspicious or odd behaviors to me.”

“What? Are you talking about when we …”

Erin quickly shook her head. “No. Unless there is something particularly odd. Just general stuff. Things she says, things she doesn't understand. Where she says they are from. That kind of stuff.”

“Erin,” he whined, cheeks flushed from the night of dancing. And Ankra's neck, no doubt.

“Drakor is not staying with me unless you agree.”

“Fine. Whatever. There will be nothing to report, I'm sure.”

She reached over the seat and banged his leg with her fist. “But if there is something, you
will
tell me, right?”

“Fine. Can we just go now? I'm going to be too exhausted to do anything at this rate.”

“Won't that be a shame?”

Erin knocked on the window and waved for Ankra and Drakor to climb in. Ankra went back to her spot next to Greg and Drakor climbed in the front seat. Just the clean scent of him, the swirl of his body heat, made her skin tingle. An ache expanded deep in her belly, begging for his touch.

She clenched her thighs together. This was turning into one hell of a night—no matter which way she looked at it.

BOOK: The Price of Discovery
8.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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